How to dress for a TEDx talk

How to dress for a TEDx talkAs you may have seen in a previous post, I’m a speaker at TEDx Malvern later this month. I’m completely honoured and excited to have been asked and actually can’t wait to give my talk. I mean, any form of public speaking, especially something like TEDx, does get the heart pumping a bit faster and give the tummy butterflies a work out, but I really am excited about it.

Why does how to dress for a TEDx talk matter?

Bizarrely, the bit that has caused me the most ‘discomfort’ is what I am planning to wear. I know. Does it even matter? Well, yes, the more I have delved into this area, the more I really believe it does. So much so, that I have ‘recruited’ a ‘Glam Squad’ to help me dress for my TEDx talk, and will be putting together a fair amount of content around the subject. Yes, I’ll be looking at how to dress for a TEDx talk, but I’m hoping that the insight that I can produce (well, the Glam Squad can!) will help anyone who is planning to do something that’s a bit more public than they’re used to. If it’s public speaking, attending an event, meeting new people, networking – whatever, what you wear matters. But not just on a superficial level. It’s actually about the way it makes you feel, and that’s something I am really focusing on for my TEDx talk, and one of the things that has been at the front on my mind when deciding how to dress for my TEDx talk.

Meet the ‘Glam Squad’

I titled our Facebook Messenger chat ‘Glam Squad’ and it’s stuck (for me anyway!!) but I wanted to introduce you to two ladies who have been a massive massive help in helping me put together outfit ideas. The first is Karen McConnell (of KA Equestrian and Karen & Clan), and the second is Sophie Callahan (of, well, Sophie Callahan!).

About Karen 

Karen is a mum of two, she’s horsey, she has a dog, she’s a Toggi blogger and has really exceptional taste in clothes. Both of Karen’s blogs show this. Her equestrian style is best showcased through KA Equestrian, and the clothes she wears when not on the yard are showcased through her lifestyle blog, Karen & Clan. Karen’s style, for me at least, ticks a lot of boxes. It always looks well thought through and everything just works. The clothing is practical (OK, unless she’s off out somewhere swanky, then it’s full on glamour!) and by that I mean she can actually walk, play with the kids and move about when wearing it. I see many, many gorgeous outfits and clothes on my travels but, for me, it has to be practical. I always like to feel that I can be ‘useful’ if needed, and if I’m wearing something I can barely move it, I’ll struggle to drive, let alone anything else! Comfort is a word that makes me think of pyjamas and hoodies, but when I say comfortable here, I mean it as an extension of the above. Comfort is a big deal in my world. If I wear a top that’s an inch too short, I will spend the whole time pulling it down. The same applies with every other item of clothing too – I’ll fiddle and faff with it constantly. This isn’t sit on the sofa comfort, it’s more a smart comfort. I feel Karen does this so well.

About Sophie

Sophie is an absolute diamond too, and I’ve always loved the way she dresses. She’s best known for her photography – well, I say best known, she’s also very well known as an equestrian and country lifestyle blogger and vlogger!

There are many similarities between Sophie and Karen’s overall style vibe in many ways – practical as well as pretty. Sophie tends to wear jeans a lot (same as me!) and she has curves that she freely admits/blogs about. Since having my children, I’m more conscious then ever about certain areas, mainly my stomach, so having Sophie’s knowledge of how to dress curves well is a huge help to me. If you saw Sophie’s blog last year about what she was wearing for HOYS, you’ll find out a lot more about her style, and you’ll see why I wanted her as part of the Glam Squad too.

Both these ladies have been a HUGE help. They have dealt with me sending pics of things I’ve seen and liked at various times of the day and night, chatted through colours and ideas, accepted my many (many) quirks and been very accepting on the areas I want to hide/not draw attention to. I am going to go into this in more detail in the blogs to follow. And I see the irony that I am quite literally highlighting the areas I want to hide, but what I’ve come to realise is that we all have these quirks. I think both Karen and Sophie’s figures are fab- enviable in fact – but both have areas that they’re not as confident about. And they address this by being careful about the clothing that they pick. I tend to huff and puff, get cross about it all and revert to something that has tent like qualities. Sure, this hides a lot of issues, but creates another in that it increases my overall mass by a huge amount. Which is not what anyone really wants to do!

What was the brief?

I spoke to Sophie and Karen about helping me when I first found out about the talk. They’re both clients and friends and I respect their opinion. We also have a relationship that means they can tell me that I’m wrong and be completely honest. And that’s what I need. I need people whose opinion I trust and I can be honest with. Because I have pretty strong opinions too.

I’m not sure either of them realised just how ‘quirky’ I could be when it comes to what I wear.

So, the TEDx talk will be filmed, I’ll be speaking against a black background, and it will be in front of an audience of people, on a stage. That’s the easy bit.

As for how to dress for the TEDx talk… the girls had some criteria to work with…

  • I’m tall – 6ft tall in fact, and although this is something I clearly can not change, it’s not something I’m hugely comfortable with. Some styles and cuts elongate and make you look taller, that was something to avoid.
  • My stomach – yep – I’m not sure I was that thrilled with my whole stomach area before, but after having twins it’s certainly not an area I’m very pleased with. OK, that sounds harsh, it looked after two tiny humans for nine months, so I can’t be too cross at it, but it’s not toned or flat. Again, I’m OK with this day to day, but I wouldn’t want anything to particularly draw attention to this area. So they had to contend with that too.
  • I’m pale. I have pale skin, darkish hair, and I am not confident when it comes to the application of make up. So the colours picked need to work with what I affectionately refer to as a ‘pasty’ complexion.
  • Jeans. I made it very clear from very early on that I was planning to wear jeans. I can do dresses (just!), I can do skirts, but I am 100% more confident if I’m wearing jeans. Maybe it’s something to do with being useful? They’re dark and smart and skinny in appearance. But they were pretty much a non negotiable.

See, I bet you thought the ladies had an easy time, didn’t you?

I’ll be creating a variety of different content over the next few weeks to show you how I’m dressing for my TEDx talk and why, some of the lovely products I’ve borrowed, what I’ve bought and more. I have some gorgeous pieces to show you and I think you’ll love them too. So here’s to our little journey about how to dress for a TEDx talk!

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